Shopping isn’t just about acquiring new stuff; shopping, simply put, feels good. And that feeling, that kick of dopamine, can be pretty addictive. A love treating myself occasionally, but I do think it’s important to control one’s spending habits if you want to save money and build up a sizeable nest egg. And the key to controlling those spending habits is to manage your emotional response to shopping and temptation.
I love to shop, but I’ve been using a few methods to keep my spending and finances in check.
If you would like to know how to save money if you are a spender, read on! This blog post will be teaching you how to take control of your spending habits – think of this as your first Shopaholics Anonymous session. It’s gonna be tough, but in the end it’ll be worth it. So sit yourself down; class is in session. Let’s do this!
Spend Using Paper, not Plastic
Credit cards are awesome and convenient… but they also make it easy to overspend (or to spend on things you weren’t planning to). When you use a credit card, it doesn’t feel like you’re using “real” cash. The cashier swipes your card, and boom, you’ve just indulged in a bit of retail therapy. Of course, regret (or even panic) comes when your credit card bill finally arrives.
One of the best ways to control your spending is to prioritize cash over plastic as much as possible. When you use cash, it’s easier to be disciplined about making unplanned purchases. With cash, you literally see how much money you have in your wallet. And when you spend you see that money leave. When you have a physical impression of how much money you have left, it’s easier to control your spending. And that’s why I prefer to spend with cash, not plastic.
Using cash more often than my credit card is by far one of the best financial decisions I’ve made. I still use my credit card, but I’ve relegated it for emergencies and (planned) online purchases.
Shop With a Companion
Movies and TV shows always show shopaholics bringing a friend while indulging in shopping therapy. But in real life, you’re actually less likely to overspend if you bring a friend along. Of course, it’s a matter of bringing along the right friend. If your friend is also an enabler or chronic overspender, it’s probably not a good idea to bring them along with you.
The key is to bring someone who is as disciplined – preferably more disciplined – than you are. That way, you will have someone to reign you in when you come across that pair of expensive designer jeans that you just got to have. Your companion can act as an external conscience. And that’s a valuable thing to have. So the next time you need to go shopping, don’t confront temptation alone – bring a friend to keep your spending in check!
It’s important to have discipline when you’re trying to avoid overspending and making impulse buys. I love discipline. But to be honest, discipline isn’t the end all be all. And it certainly isn’t the only way to avoid spending more than you initially planned.
One of the best ways to avoid overspending is to simply avoid the temptation altogether. For example, if you’re heading to the supermarket to buy some needed supplies and food, it might be a good idea to avoid the other shops along the way. If the supermarket has a dedicated entrance, use it. Malls try to tempt shoppers into buying more than they intended, so just avoid passing by shops you know will tempt you. For me, those are sneaker shops. I’m a pretty disciplined person, but why test myself when I can easily avoid temptation, right?
I know this bit of advice might seem confusing because just a while ago, I told you to avoid temptation. When I tell you to confront your temptation, look at it as a next-level bit of advice. If you’ve got the other saving methods down pat, you can try more advanced methods of saving. And one of the best ways, is confronting temptation when it comes.
For example, when you get tempted to get a new pair of sneakers, try examining why you feel the need to buy it in the first place. Is it a case of FOMO? Or are you trying to distract yourself from something important by shopping? Examine the temptation with openness and curiosity. At this point, the goal isn’t to repress the urge to spend, but to understand it. And to understand something, you need to observe it without judgment.
And that’s one of the best ways to understand one’s shopaholic tendencies. And with understanding comes great power… or self-control, rather.
Treat Yourself… Within Reason
It feels great to have saved up a decent nest egg, right? Now that you have substantial savings, it’s time to reward yourself! Of course, that doesn’t mean clearing out your savings account and going on a shopping rampage. But it’s a good idea to reward yourself from time to time. What I like to do is create financial milestones, then reward myself whenever I reach any of those milestones.
By “scheduling” my reward days with those milestones, I ensure that I don’t indulge in shopping too often. But it’s also a good idea to reward yourself because it reminds you of the reasons why you save. And since saving money can feel like an upward climb sometimes, having a reward at the end of each milestone could encourage you to keep going. And when it comes to saving money, that’s something you have to do: keep going.
Hopefully, the tips and tricks I shared in this blog post will help you manage your shopping-related temptations. In the end, these methods will definitely help you control your spending, as well as increase your savings!